It’s that time of the year again when the skies are heavy and pregnant with rain. It’s hard enough getting out of bed on a rainy day, but to motivate yourself to work up a sweat when all you want to do is stay curled up in your cozy bed is really just Mission: Impossible.
Mind Over Matter
These are moments when you simply have to bite the bullet and will your body to get up and get moving. One trick I learned (and it’s hardly a new technique) is that before my body understands what’s going on, I set my mind to get active. So in my hazy lethargy, I sit up quickly and shake off the sleep and walk straight into the bathroom to splash water on my face and wake myself up. This is why an early morning fasted cardio works best for me. I fix myself a drink of water and BCAAs (a must for hydration when doing fasted cardio) and I get on the bike and start pedalling away. Before I know it, I’m clocking in forty-five minutes to an hour of intense sweating.
We can’t disqualify the benefits of a quick pick-me-up drink to get you in the mood for action (no, not the single malt kind–it’s not 5’o clock yet!). Black coffee is a great pre-workout drink (I take mine without sugar) that gets you going in no time at all. Just mind your intake so you don’t end up with an awful caffeine crash before noon. If you’re not into coffee, you can take a black tea such as English Breakfast (my personal favourite among the black teas) or Earl Grey. If coffee or tea isn’t your, well, cup of tea, then you can whip yourself up a nice fruit shake or green smoothie to get you going. Just mind your sugar intake so you don’t have to deal with a sugar crash later on.
Turn It Up
Another thing that can help motivate you to get active is to set the mood through music. I have a special playlist for when I’m feeling sluggish and lazy but need to get a workout in. Music has been shown to affect the brain and body during exercise. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the connection between music and exercise can be traced all the way back to the rowers of the Roman galleys. Carl Foster, Ph. D. of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Exercise and Health Program said, “The guy is sitting there beating on his drum and he drives the basic rhythm of the rowing. Part of that is coordination—you want the rowers to row together—but part of it is that people will naturally follow a tempo. It’s just something about the way our brains work.”
Dr. Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D. of London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education says “Music is like a legal drug for athletes…It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.“
Just Do It
When all else fails and you simply can’t get yourself to either hit the gym, play a workout video, or at least do a home-based cardio exercise, then at least get moving. Put on a raincoat and take a walk outside. Go to a mall and do some serious walking around (keep that credit card in your wallet; we’re not shopping today). You can take up a new hobby like wall climbing (sounds like a total commitment but is really a lot of fun and a great total body workout). Some malls have climbing walls in the sports section or you can go to a rec centre that offers it. Maybe play some racquet ball, take up a dance class (even if it’s just for the day), or finally check out the new boxing gym around the corner. Whatever it is, the bottom line is to get moving. Once you commit to getting up, getting dressed, and get moving, you’ll have a higher likelihood of going through with it.